Wednesday, October 1, 2014


The cat purred loudly with her belly upturned to the sun, and Bella rubbed the patch of off-white fluff, keeping a careful watch for that thinnest of moments when pleasure turned back on itself in a rage of claws and teeth.  She no longer held against cats, this strange fury that came when pleasure seemed at its highest; instead, she began to see it in her own life - pleasure and fury.  At least, she experienced something of the same outer manifestations, let the mystery of the cat's mind remain locked behind devilishly slit opal eyes.

Mr. Van Zandt was her geometry teacher - a kind, wild-haired old man who was married to his wife in matching clown costumes on Halloween - and he enthused over geometry with the sort of giddiness appropriate for small children.  But he was not a small child nor was she, a sophomore in high school.

It was triangles that started it, her reciprocal giddiness.  The way the sides would slide around and open and close the angles, all the while bound by the magic of 180 degrees. They were vivid; she could hear their movements, like great stone tombs closing, labyrinths of vines sliding, the booming and the slithering, boundedness and freedom.  For the first time in her life, she loved math class.  Proofs were almost intuitive; they were natural, common, seemed a part of her.

Mr. Van Zandt called on her a couple of weeks ago; called on her to turn to a page of problems that had not been assigned and to solve the first proof at the bottom of the page.  She ran her finger down the page to find it, words unseen as a triangle and circle intersected.

"Forty-two" she said, "forty-two degrees."

Then she realized she had answered as he had been assigning the next proof to Scott, who sat in front of her and smelled of farts.  She had answered too quickly.

Mr. Van Zandt paused, looked at his book, looked up at her.  She could feel her heart beating, flushed with the joy of power, confidence, and above all, power.  He stepped sideways to see her better around Scott.

"And the next one?"

A rhombus intersected by two line segments, were triangles BDF and ABC congruent?


"Are any?"

"BDF is congruent with ACD."

"The next proof, please?"

The bell rang and the class stampeded out, carrying her with them, and as she sat in English for the next 50 minutes, ignoring Silas Marner, she trembled a bit with pride, with excitement, and then with fear.  She has found her place in the sun, and she wanted to freeze this moment, never going back to geometry, always being victorious, and the more her soul wandered in this direction, the more she felt as though she must scheme to get out of next class, and the one after that and after that. He must never be allowed to question her again.  What if she missed one?  What if she forgot the formula or pi or, just, what if the magic didn't come? 

Panic tossed her baby bird heart against her chest. 

She heard her English teacher call her name.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


My soul sings, too,
of the storm’s embrace.
The roar of need,
the groan of passion –
water for water – before which flies
inconsequential space
and remnants of the daily pace:
the squeamish and the self-possessed
who will not be possessed.

A cup bounces, skitters, rolls

And the ravishing begins.
The winds
are singing
to the thrashing grasses –
touching, touching.
The trees
are bending, sending
old lives, false starts
winging to the wind’s wild singing.
Earth meets Earth,
sky on land,
land in sky,
gravity and wind,
Water to Water.
The streetlights flicker.
and silver curtains fall
on voyeurs
who peer from the dry-side of a wall.

But I’m out in it.

My soul sings, too,
to the Song being sung.
God willing that I return
the glory of the storm
from within who I am –
become –
return it to the one
Who is Song.

Song of storms,
but also wide skies,
dark, glittering nights,
impossible eternity
gaping overhead.

And I’m out in it.

But again, not only Song of storms and skies,
of worlds without end,
but Song of you,
my friend,
you are sung;
you walk among these worlds,
filling inconsequential spaces
with place.

Sung.  Surprisingly.

And I wrap you in my hopes,
long stretched.
They tremble to hold what can finally be held.
My hope is old;
her hair loosed from tidy pins,
falling silver.
Her arms tremble to hold what can be held:
Sung from the Song.

Can honey drip from silver?
Or darkness be filled with flame?
Can the inconsequential quiver?
Or the sun color the rain?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Greens and Graffiti

Huck Finn once pointed out to me that Heaven sounded like an awfully dull place - especially without Tom Sawyer - but, as a child coming to grips with death and the philosophy of nihilism, I was much too quick to dismiss Huck's claim as unimportant.  Who cares if Heaven is boring? The question is whether or not it's there!

But not too many years later, after passing through my first blush (or more like Vaudeville rouge) with angst, I began thinking and writing about stories and I realized that evil was necessary for the plot of every story I had read - at least up to that point in time.

It disturbed me. 

If there's no evil in Heaven, are there no good stories there either?  Do we really do nothing but sit around in white robes strumming harps all day?  Indeed, Huck, how boring!

It was C. S. Lewis (poor, overused C. S. Lewis!) who gave me the first hint of a new paradigm.  In the final chapter of The Last Battle, we find the second most famous line of the Narnia Series (the first being "'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you"); that second most famous line, occurring in the space and time of the New Heaven and the New Earth reads "Come further up! Come further in!"

Further up where?  Further in what?


For life is full of challenges that have nothing to do with evil: skiing, biking, hang-gliding, river-running, stars to watch, cart-wheels, back-hands, flower-finding, and searching for the Sasquatch.  You see, I'm young but I'm also old and I'm old enough to know now that I'm going to run out of time before the Cosmos runs out of possibilities.

But I'm young enough to keep on living.

And everyone is really both young and old at the same time - greens and graffiti - we all need them both.

In this present time and place, there is brokenness to heal and lies to destroy; we are called to "sing a fun song in a church" even if it gets us thrown in jail, and to this good work I turn with thankfulness, if also, at times, with trembling.  But in the midst of this, my identity remains centered on life - life that is fun in its artistic challenges, its athletic accomplishments, its musical performances, its wondering conversations, its loves, its hopes, its SP1NACH gangs - its margaritas last night and Hollandaise sauce in the morning.

Life is fun.

What is life?

I am the way, the truth, and life...Oh, the mystery!

Saturday, February 1, 2014



1. Remember to position the phone slightly above you to create a more slimming photo.

2. Always maintain irony while attempting sexy.

3. And remember, you can tell a horse's age by its teeth.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Who Is The Least Among You?

“Whatever you do to the least of these –
(And lists of least will rarely please for
looking close you'll likely see
alongside bumblebees.)

“Whatever you do to the least of these,
You’ve done it unto me.”

Said Jesus and the bumblebees.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Holy Mole!

This here is garlic from China;
it's just like the stuff we grow here -